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Treating Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea around today. The condition occurs due to a blockage in the back of the throat. This blockage in turn, is a product of rapid. involuntarily constriction of the muscles in the area. This causes a cessation of breathing during sleep, often presenting itself as snoring or temporary loss of breath.

One of the most common sure-fire signs of OSA is a patient who experiences loud and aggressive snoring, often wake up choking or gasping, experience daytime drowsiness & fatigue, and are suffering from high blood pressure. When an individual’s displays such symptoms, there is a high probability that these were as a result of sleep apnea issues.

Diagnosis
When an individual begins to exhibit the early onset symptoms of sleep apnea, such as snoring or fatigue during the day, it is important that they have a full screening done and determine if they actually are suffering from sleep apnea or not.

Sleep Study or Polysomnogram
Generally, if you are experiencing any of the common symptoms associated with sleep apnea then it is important to call for a sleep study to be performed. During this sleep study you will spend the night at a certified sleep study facility and during the night your body and vitals will be monitored closely. The sleep study is known as a Polysomnogram or PSG. Once the results are analyzed, and in conjunction with your prior sleep history – a determination of treatment will be made.

Treatment Options

Sleep Hygiene& Lifestyle Changes
One of the most important aspects of sleep apnea treatment, is learning good sleep hygiene. With many risk factors causing Obstructive Sleep Apnea it is important to try and remedy those issues. For instance, smoking tends to increase your chances of experiencing sleep apnea, therefore you may want to quit smoking. Also being overweight will vastly increase your chances, losing weight is a good option.
Patients are advised to lose weight, eat healthy, and maintain a regular schedule of moderate exercise, that is commiserate with your level of physical fitness.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
A CPAP is a device to be worn during your night’s sleep. It is a pressurized air generator that operates similarly to a ventilator from your bedside. Air is first delivered through a mask, which covers the mouth and nose. The force of the pressurized air pushes the airways open – allowing patients to breath east and alleviating the symptoms of OSA.

Oral Appliance Therapy
The most common and for some the most effective form of treatment. Involves the use of oral appliances such as mouth guards to treat snoring and help to open the airways against the symptoms of OSA. Similar to orthodontic devices these oral sleep appliances are fit custom to an individual’s mouth. First the patient must select the proper mouth guard or appliance for them, choose a proper design that alleviates their symptoms, the device is then custom fit to the patients mouth. Once the appliance is properly functional is worn during sleep and works by keeping the jaw forward slightly enough and helping to open the airways and prevent any further obstruction to the throat during the entire night’s sleep.

How Do Oral Appliances Work?
Oral Sleep Appliances work in many ways, including:

  • Repositioning the lower portion of the jaw, soft palate and the uvula – opening the airways.
  • Stabilizing the lower jaw and the tongue
  • Provide a “workout” for the jaw and tongue muscles – this helps keep the airways open during sleep.

Type of Oral Sleep Appliance
Currently there are close to 50 different types of oral sleep appliance available to patients, that are FDA- approved for the treatment of OSA and other forms of sleep apnea. They can be used alone or in conjunction with one another for treatment. In addition to the sleep appliance therapy it important patients make positive life changes by losing weight, quitting smoking, develop an exercise routine, and routine for bedtime.
Oral sleep appliances are thought to be one of the most common and effective forms of dental sleep appliance therapy available in the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. If you are suffering from excessive snoring or are often short of breath during the night, contact Advanced Medical today and get the good night’s sleep you’ve always wanted!

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